Friday, November 13, 2015

An Invitation to End the Death Penalty

The death penalty in the United States will end.  
In the scholarly community, the debate is over. The proof that capital punishment doesn’t work is as conclusive as the evidence that human activities have caused global warming. After 50 years of research, we know that capital punishment either doesn’t deter or deters very little, and then only if practiced with such regularity that it virtually guarantees errors. We know that since 1973, 156 people have been sentenced to die and subsequently exonerated. We know that whether a murderer is executed is largely the product of the victim’s race and geographic bad luck. We know that the penalty is expensive to implement and, if one is serious about preventing mistakes, cruelly slow.

For these reasons, among others, the international community has largely rejected capital punishment. Of the 193 United Nations members, 137 have abolished the death penalty either by law or practice. In 2013, only 22 countries conducted an execution. Only eight conducted 10 or more: China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and the United States. It’s simply impossible to imagine the United States remaining on this list for much longer.

The question is how much longer.


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